Large Performing Arts Centres Scaling Down
Theatre companies and producers large and small are closing down to abide by regulations banning gatherings of more than 500 people.
Opera Australia announced Sunday night that it is cancelling the rest of its Summer season including Handa's Opera on the harbour.
This includes all performances of Attila, Carmen and Great Opera Hits at the Sydney Opera House that were scheduled from Monday 16 through to Saturday 28 March.
The Arts Centre Melbourne is closed for four weeks, from 16 March to 12 April.
Claire Spencer, CEO of Arts Centre Melbourne: “We know that the arts play a critical role in uplifting and supporting our communities and we’ll continue to explore ways to bring the wonder of the performing arts to Victorians during this time.”
The Melbourne Theatre Company has cancelled all remaining performances of Torch the Place and Emerald City.
The Sydney Theatre Company has cancelled all remaining performances of No Pay No Way.
Cirque du Soleil has announced it will postpone performances of its show KURIOS scheduled to be presented under the Big Top at the Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne, effective 14 March, 2020 until 15 April, 2020.
Producers of Come of Away have announced that their Melbourne season will conclude on Sunday - but will return for a six week season in 2021.
The producers of Billy Elliot the Musical also announced Sunday "that this evening’s performance of Billy Elliot the Musical at Melbourne’s Regent Theatre was its final. The production was due to play until April 19th but due to these unprecedented developments the production had no other option."
"The health, safety and well-being of our staff, artists, audiences and our community will always be paramount. The producers thank the Billy Elliot Company and of course our audiences for helping make this such a special tour."
Major events already cancelled include the Australian Grand Prix, Sydney’s Royal Easter Show, Vivid Sydney and the Melbourne Comedy Festival.
Elsewhere major commercial productins which will be forced to shut include Harry Potter in Melbourne and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which is opening at QPAC in Brisbane.
Smaller venues are proceeding with their performances. Many have sent emails to patrons urging them to stay home if they have any symptoms of illness and also increasing cleaning of common areas.
Those venues have to include cast and crew and audience when calculating the 500 thresh-hold.
However many smaller venues will also come under pressure to close their doors - as the Prime Minster today said that social distancing is required in public places. At a media conference he indicated that being 1.5 metres away from another person is optimal. This makes it unviable for producers in small venues to stay open.
Already today the 60 seat Old Fitz theatre in Sydney announced it is cancelling its next season. Malthouse Theatre in Melbourne is shut. More cancellations are expected.
Live Performance Australia has called for urgent stimulus to protect the 2.5-billion-dollar industry.
“We’re already seeing cancellation of events and touring programs across the country. We expect this to get worse with industry losing hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of jobs,” said LPA Chief Executive, Evelyn Richardson.
“In the event that governments upgrade their public health response to COVID-19 which forces the cancellation of live performance events, they need to in the short term urgently develop a targeted relief package to keep businesses operating.”